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To Buy Organic or not...how Much Does Nutrition Count?

Since the time when my son turned 6 months old and started eating solids, I have become obsessed with trying to provide the best nutrition that I can for my son. I have done research on the internet and through books. I have tried making my own baby food and read the labels on the foods I purchased at the stores. My question is what have other mothers done to try and provide good nutrition for their children? And also (for more experienced moms), does it really benefit children to be so careful about what they eat?

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I just read an article in Cooking Light magazine about a research study that shows how a lot of organic foods have way higher nutrition content than non-organic, b/c of the increased length of time organics stay on the vine/tree/etc. Some organics, like peppers and grains, do not have any extra nutrition, but most others do. I'm also a first time Mom at 38 w/ an 8 month old, and to me, nutrition and diet is everything. I use www.doortodoororganics.com to get fresh organics deliverd to my door for a v. reasonable price (and I'm frugal).

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IMO It really doesn't matter. I went the baby food from the store with my first, he still drinks regular juice and junk food. His weight is finally above the 30 percentile and he's very healthy. He does have Autism but he's very high fuctioning. I have had people tell me it's because of red food dyes and immunizations. I think, it just happens.

My youngest son was fed homemade baby food and I kept him on organic juice, for a while it was all he liked. He's still under the tenth percentile. He has had more infections, mostly strep, and has more allergies. He was born with Strep B that I gave him, unknowingly, back then, they didn't give antibiotics to pregnant mom's. I took antiboitics for the strep I had but it still passed through to him. He doesn't like food much, now either (only junk)

Hi B.,
I loved Katie H.'s response. There is so much emphasis on food labels in the US that is is very confusing for the average consumer. Stick with locally grown food. Go to the farmer's market or whole foods stores and buy the freshest, least processed foods you can find. A frozen dinner that says organic may still be packed with fat or sugars or worse (chemical sugar substitutes). I look at the ingredient labels and if it has more than just a handful of ingredients, I put it back. There is no reason to pump or little ones full of artificial flavorings and colorings and preservatives. We are lucky enough in this country to have an abundance of fresh foods available to us. Take advantage of it. If you are a reader, I highly suggest "In Defense Of Food".
Take care,
B.

More Answers

Hi B.,

I wanted to respond to your question because I am very educated on organic food principles and standards. I studied organic agriculture in college and am now going into a natural health degree. I have a 9 month old son, so I can share your concern. Here's a little info on organic food: To answer your question, there is not necessarily more "nutrients" in organic foods. The emphasis is rather placed on what is absent in organic foods--which are chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, genetically-modified organisms, etc. which can be harmful to the body.

The problem, however, is that it is very expensive for a farm to get their organic certification by the USDA, who patented the term "organic". Also, to state that your products are "certified organic" by USDA standards, they do not even have to be 100% organic, which is misleading. However, if you are shopping at a natural foods store, the staff is well aware of this, and tries to support local farms, and product manufacturers who have ethical growing practices but may not have their products "certified organic".

The best thing my mother taught me is not to be extreme at anything...moderation is key...and she is the healthiest 50 year old that I know. So, choose the best products you can, but don't be crazy about the terms that may be misleading. I support organic as much as possible because to me it is basically the way food should be. I feel like non-organic foods should have to be labelled, "chemicals used", rather than pure food needing to be the one that is distinguished.

Nontheless, nutrition is one of most important things having to do with our health that we CAN control. ABSOLUTELY, it does affect our well being, immunity and resistence to disease, mental/emotional health, etc. The most important thing is that we limit refined, processed, and artificial foods in our diets (our kids' too!), and focus on including alive, fresh, whole foods.

Making your own baby food with fresh fruits, veggies, grains and legumes is the best way to go, and using organic (or chemical free) whenever possible is best. But just do the best you can. A GREAT book is, Homemade Baby Food, Pure & Simple, by Connie Linardakis. I love it! Good luck to you and your little one, I hope this was helpful:)

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I had the same inititive when I had my daughter, but it was detered when she wasn't gaining weight and my instruction from my dr. where to "just get her to eat SOMETHING". I say, use you're best judgement, go with your gut, and relax. I would prefer to give my daughter an organic diet, but honestly it's more expensive than I can handle right now, and beyond that she won't eat it. So, I've decided that when she's old enough to really understand why we should or shouldn't eat certain things, I'm going to do my best to teach her. Good luck!

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If you're eating healthily, feed him what you eat. It does make a difference to be health conscious, just don't go overboard and freak out if he doesn't just gobble up what you put in front of his face. It takes awhile for babies to get used to tastes and textures. My son LOVED spicy Korean food when he was six months old. I worried about side-effects, but there were none. I just used my baby grinder (he liked a more chunky texture) and he got what we got. He's now 14 and taller than I am!
My opinion is, if it's washed properly and cooked well, organic food is just another way to spend more money for the same thing. Give him choice and variety and you AND he will do fine! You're a good mommy.

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I feed my daughter, and us, organic food whenever possible. I just read about organic vs. conventional butter. Conventional butter has more than 80 times the contaminants of organic butter, because the pesticides and chemicals are concentrated in the fat of the animal, if that makes sense.

The big thing I do to keep her healthy is not allow any sugar. I give her fun, healthy alternatives. For instance, cantaloupe has been on sale, and I take that, blend in the blender with a little water, and freeze in paper dixie cups to make a fun, whole fruit (not just juice) snack. We buy fruit sweetened ketchup, we occasionally have cookies and desserts made with honey, but avoid sugar and high fructose corn syrup, and just use healthier alternatives like agave nectar and honey. I don't want to deprive her of sweet things, but I think high sugar foods are what are causing our kids to be obese. She drinks water or milk (still whole milk, b/c she is two), with some occasional herbal tea (iced or warm). You asked what difference it makes. Emma, my daughter, is in the 70th percentile for height and the 10th for weight, long and lean. Her cousins, 10 and 3, are both obese, and their mom lets them eat lots of sugar, sodas, etc... She has them drink gatorade and calls it "juice." Anyway the three year old is in the 30th percentile for height and above the 95th percentile for weight. She is huge! Childhood obesity predisposes kids for all kinds of health issues.

Also, a great supplement to give is good EFAs. I like the brands Nordic Naturals and Carlsons for fish oils, as they are free from heavy metals and PCBs. I give her fish oil to help brain development, and also flax oil to get some other good fatty acids into her. Steer away from Omega 6, and give lots of Omega 3 fatty acids.

I think if you are going to make organic choices, meat and milk are the two big places to do that. The animals concentrate chemicals in their meat and fat, especially. One great way to help with cost, is to grow your own produce. Many cities have community gardens where you can have a garden for a small fee each year. Ours lets you have a plot from 10 x 10 to 20 x 40 for only $25/year. That includes water, which is a great deal here, as we are in a drought and water is very expensive.

Also, reducing plastics in your life is a great health practice. The chemicals in plastics (sippy cups, plates, coated spoons, etc...) are no good for baby. We got our daughter stainless steel cups, bowls, plates, etc... to help with that.

With nutrition, you have gotten some good advice. Lots of fruits and veggies, some organic meat and dairy, not a lot of breads or crackers, but some whole grains like brown rice or bulghur. Good for you for caring enough to make your own baby food! Keep up the good work!

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Good for you in being aware. Nutrition is of the highest importance. I have studied with a woman who has been an nutritionist for 30 years she truly believes (and so do I) that every disease and ailment is caused by the bodies impaired immune system and the body not being able to get rid of toxins so the body stores them in different places and you then become ill.What is really sad is that our food no longer has the nutrition in it it once had.In 1992 at the Earth Summit in Brazil they reported soil depletion is epidemic world wide and the USA tops the charts at 85 percent. That is why we are seeing such a huge rise in disease. Here are a few things caused by your immune system not working properly.......OVERACTIVE IMMUNE DISORDERS.....Allergies(this includes food allergies. Asthma, Eczema.....UNDERACTIVE IMMUNE DISORDERS.......Bronchitis, colds and flu, chronic fatigue syndrome, ear infections, shingles, just to mention a few. AUTO-IMMUNE DISEASES ......MS, Lupus, for a few. INFLAMMATORY DISORDERS.....Fibromyalgia, Celiac disease, Crohn's disease, OTHER DISORDERS......Brain disorders like Alzheimer's, ADD/ADHD, Infertility, Heart Disease. So YES nutrition is important but you need to supplement with the best you can find. Like a whole food organic liquid.
OK so I will get down from my soap box now, but as you can see I am very passionate about people's health.
GOOD-LUCK TO YOU............J.

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Hi B.,

I am a first time mom at age 38 as well.

This is what I have learned in trying to provide the best for my son and family...nutrition is EVERYTHING! It is so important for the health of your child and your family. Organic is important as well and worth every penny because it's not laiden with pesticides.

It was about six years ago, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. She decided not to follow traditional western recommendations to have chemo/radiation.(talk to your doctor) We all thought she was crazy and of course we didn't want to lose our mother to cancer.

She decided to changed her diet to a veagan and began juicing. Well, she is cancer free. This began my journey on nutrition. WOW, the power of nutrition! When she gave her body the nutrition it was craving, it mustered up the energy to heal itself. She sent us a book on how to eat to prevent cancer.

I have learned so much from this health crisis in our family and most importantly learned how to care for my body to prevent disease by eating healthy and making healthy choices. I also learned to model good eating habits for my son.

This is some of what I have learned on this journey....

1. Good nutrition prevents 70% of all diseases. WOW!
2. Sugar supresses the immune function for up to 6 hours.
3. Hydrogenated oils are, bad, bad, bad!
4. Apples can be stored for up to year in warehouses.
5. Vine ripened fruits and veggies have more nutrients.
6. Fruits and veggies lose most the nutrients after 5 days of picking.

Nutrition, fruits and veggies are so important because they work on the cellular level and keep us healthy.

My son just started a class this summer and I to had to start packing lunches. His teacher made the comment to me "I have never seen asparagus in a childs lunch and your son ate it" I try and pack a fruit, veggie and a protien.I'll pack nuts and Lara bars for great snack. Dried fruits in snack packs (from costco).

Most importantly, we as parents have to model good nutrition to our children and they will follow.

Before my son was born, I owned a small garden business. I met a women at a network luncheon who did a presentation on nutrition and talked about Juice Plus. Well this juice plus, (26 fruits, veggies and grains in a capsule, chewable and gummie) stuff just made sense to me because I knew my life was busy and I wasn't getting enough fruits and veggies in my diet and I had learned how important they were from my mothers health crisis. So I started taking it. I took it all through my pregnancy and while nursing.

Would you believe, when I stopped nursing my son, he kept getting sick. Well the difference was that he was no longer getting the whole food nutrients found in the juice plus. Wow, I thought, I need to learn more about this Juice Plus stuff. What I found is that there are 12 amazing research studies supporting what Juice Plus does in and for the body. Most importantly to me was the fact that it supports the immune function. So I bought some of the gummies for my son and his has been so healthy. We only go to the doctor for well visits.

I decided, I have to share this with people and this began my journey of helping other families with the challenge of nutrition. It's so hard especially with kids to get them to eat fruits and veggies, I felt I needed to do my part and share what I have learned. Juice Plus helps us as a family to bridge the gap of what we, can't won't and don't eat. It is or nutritional safety belt.

I encourage you to learn more at www.DenverJuicePlus.com or attend a health event. Find one in your area www.juiceplusevents.com.

Good luck!

L.
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My children are healthier (sick less often; low body fat) than any family I've every met. Here's what we do:

First, I never gave the babies/toddlers juice. It's pretty much sugar water -- how can that benefit my child? Second, I rarely gave the babies/toddlers bags of junk crackers/carbs to snack on. Yet when you go the the mall, all the little ones are drinking juice and eating junk carbs.

Third, they've been getting milk/eggs from organic sources their whole life. No pesticides, no hormones, no antibiotics.

"But I can't afford that!" We went without vacations and luxury items rather than skimp on the children's health. Most families do the exact opposite.

I believe it makes a huge difference.

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Feeding your child regular non organic baby food is just as healthy as anything else. It is wonderful that you try to prepare homemade food, I think if all Mom's were able to they would provide it also, however, I am and I don't. I have a baby and I worry that I won't puree the food fine enough for her to swallow. Both my girls, thank goodness are healthy and happy and tall and thin. I have been using regular Gerber's since day one.

Of course, it is important to be careful about what they eat, fruits and vegy's are essential. However, according to our pediatrician and books I have read, I am not sure that you are getting more from organic than regular.

Teaching your son good nutrition will be the key. Also, teaching him how to curb on snacks down the road will help him later. My kids are allowed ice cream and chocolate just at the right times of day and only "so much". I love that my oldest grabs for the clementines instead of the M&M's when she wants a snack.

Do what you are doing best, watch your son grow and learn!!!

About me - 45 with a one and a five year old.

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I just read an article in Cooking Light magazine about a research study that shows how a lot of organic foods have way higher nutrition content than non-organic, b/c of the increased length of time organics stay on the vine/tree/etc. Some organics, like peppers and grains, do not have any extra nutrition, but most others do. I'm also a first time Mom at 38 w/ an 8 month old, and to me, nutrition and diet is everything. I use www.doortodoororganics.com to get fresh organics deliverd to my door for a v. reasonable price (and I'm frugal).

2 moms found this helpful

My son was identified at two with low tolerance to soy, corn and dairy. this changed our lives. It amazes me how much is in baby food. I found these three products are processed and used a sweetners and preservatives. I also found that often Organic meant it was made without these items. So like organic ketchup, BBQ sauce, and some dressings are okay for my son. so I actually don't think of organc as made without pestides, etc. to me it is made without junk or body can not break down. I do alwas buy organic leattuce and soft fruits. But hard fruits don't matter so save money and buy regular there. Or, go to your farmer's market in the summer to get the really good stuff. Do know that organic means it does not have a long shelf life, but that usually it hasn't been on the grocery store shelf for several weeks either. rudi's bread is the only way to go as the others have corn syrup. So if you want to focus on one thing right now, take out all corn syrup in your pantry and check your labels. It makes a huge difference in the way you feel. Now, your hubby may complain for a bit...but then maybe a year later, when you are severing organic and fresh foods for dinner to the in-laws and he is defending you as they whine and complain...you know you did your job. wih time, your taste buds change and you can actualy taste when it is high sugar and fat. you won't like it. I remeber loving cookies from King Soopers. Now, I can't choke them down...much rathe make my own. Also try Jessica seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious. I couldn't do all the purees but like the recipes and learned to add stuff like flax to everything.

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Good for you for being so involved and concerned about your son's nutrition. YES YES YES it DOES really benefit children to be so careful about what they eat. Personally, I think it is downright scary what some people feed their kids. I found the book Super BAby Food by Ruth YAron to be very helpful. I would also recommend (if you're not already doing it) to carefully check labels and never buy "foods" with high fructose corn syrup. There are so many items where this nasty little processed syrup is tossed in as one of the top ingredients. I've made almost all of my son's food and have also been really aware when shopping for him...he's been sick far less than other kiddos we know.

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Personally I think eating from the outside isles of the grocery store is important. Making sure you get enough protein and whole grains and such.. Organic is a personal choice -your quality of food is going to be better for sure. Costco offers alot of organic options now if you don't mind buying in bulk. You could even think about having a garden for next planting season to deflate the cost of organic foods. Farmers markets are another good sorce to organic foods. Detoxing your home is just as important too.. I did this 3 years ago and wish I would of known more about it when my kids were real little.

You can take the healthy home quiz to find out what I am talking about:http://W.-adventures.blogspot.com/search?q=healthy+home+quiz

Hope that helps!
C.
www.AHomeCareer.com

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I think it's great that you are trying to give your baby the best start in life with healthy, balanced meals. Consumer Reports just did an article on whether it's worth it to buy organic and basically it recommended buying fruits and vegetables that are organic but it's not as important in other things like cereals and meats. But I say if it's in your budget to do so, then why not? Avoiding processed foods is always wise, but in the real world, just not always possible. And I think it does benefit your children when you teach them the right way to eat by providing a wide variety of healthy foods, it's something that will follow him his entire life!

So go ahead and give him great, organic, wholesome foods when possible, but don't feel bad if he occasionally has something that's not necessarily the best thing for him (like chicken nuggets or cookies). Everything in moderation!

From April - October if you can buy locally from farmers (farmer's markets) who are close to you will find that in addition to being 'organic', the food is fresher and will taste so much better. How many times have you gone to the grocery store and bought a pithy fruit or a box of berries that molds in one day? Maybe because they were shipped from 1500+ miles away and took a few days to get to you? You will find that you actually have to buy in season, but that you may find some wonderful new fruits and veggies to try out. I would suggest that for summer. Or if you have room, plant a garden next year. You can also find some free range meat at some of the farmer's markets as well. It isn't that much more expensive to shop at the farmer's markets. As far as being careful about what they eat, it does matter. If you get a fresh fruit or veggie that tastes great, your child probably won't balk at eating it or any other. If you only feed your child high fructose corn syrup, fats, or other 'bad' stuff, they will go for those over fresh stuff any day.

B.,

I was too poor when my son was little to buy babyfood, so I made it. We had a ward garden. I used food from the garden and whatever was on special at the grocery store, steamed it, pulverized it in the blender, and then froze it in babyfood jars scavenged from my neighbors. The nutrition was probably substantially better than commercial food, and the taste definitely was. My son, unlike most children, grew up LOVING vegetables. And, he was (and is, 25 years later) really healthy.

As a matter of fact, my babysitter once tried to feed him some commercial strained peas. He didn't like them. He spit them all over her, screamed for 15 min., and then glared at her for the rest of the afternoon. She vowed that she would never feed him commercial food after that. There must have been an extreme taste difference.

I had to make my own for economic reasons, but I would do it again even if I did not have to because of the much better results. That commercial babyfood must be really nasty.

Organic, if you can afford it, is a good choice. Not only is it more likely to have the important micronutrients, it is less likely to have chemical residue and pesticides.

B., I think the reason most people choose organic is knowing that the food placed before your child is not sprayed with chemicals that is bad for them. Knowing that the food is the highest quality and most nutritious is what we want for our family, most of us can't afford it unless we grow our own. Which means its free. growing different kinds of fruit trees that ripen at different times and keeping vegi's growing for as long as possible. I know that I feel better when I give my family the best.

Organic is better than not because they're supposed to have more nutrition because they haven't been tempered with as much. I don't know if you're doing this, but grow a garden and plant a few trees, and it will be easier to have organic without it being as expensive as it is in the store

Hi B.,
I loved Katie H.'s response. There is so much emphasis on food labels in the US that is is very confusing for the average consumer. Stick with locally grown food. Go to the farmer's market or whole foods stores and buy the freshest, least processed foods you can find. A frozen dinner that says organic may still be packed with fat or sugars or worse (chemical sugar substitutes). I look at the ingredient labels and if it has more than just a handful of ingredients, I put it back. There is no reason to pump or little ones full of artificial flavorings and colorings and preservatives. We are lucky enough in this country to have an abundance of fresh foods available to us. Take advantage of it. If you are a reader, I highly suggest "In Defense Of Food".
Take care,
B.

There is controversey about if organic is more nutritious than conventional or not. Personally, if you can afford to spend a little extra for your kid I say do it. My rule of thumb is that if U R eating the skin of the fruit/veg: U can't wash off pesticides- go organic. Toxins are coming at us from all angles- food is one area you have control over.

Incidentally, buying local is also a good choice for your carbon foot print as well as eating from your local soil, supporting your local farmer.

Here's a blurb from deliciousliving.com about where to spend your money when it comes to organics. It names the bad stuff:

The "dirty dozen." According to the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C., the following fruits and vegetables harbor the highest amounts of pesticide residue when grown conventionally: peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, pears, grapes (imported), spinach, lettuce, and potatoes. Opt for organic when purchasing these products.

Baby food. Buy an organic brand—free of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetic engineering—because developing bodies and brains are more vulnerable to toxins.

Dairy products. You can't wash off the pesticides or growth hormones used in conventional dairy—so buy organic.

Healthy snacks. To keep your kids excited about homemade snack mixes, add a few relatively expensive ingredients like dried apricots, which add fiber to the diet and promote eye health, or cashews, which are a good source of protein and contribute to heart health.

Oils. Organic, expeller-pressed oils ensure maximum purity and flavor and minimize your family's exposure to pesticides. However, buy in quantities you will use, because oils kept too long will become rancid.

Conventional foods are often loaded with pesticides and since they last much longer (due to pesticides and preservatives) they are definately NOT as nutritious. Also, pesticides and toxins don't always just wash off, and even if you can peel an orange, you can't take those chemicals out of the air and water. Organic foods not only are more nutritious and safe for your family, they are safer for the planet. I believe eating a nutritious, organic diet, is the best insurance one can have. It's worth the extra money!

as far as vegetables go, my pediatrician said that the only vegetables you really should buy organic is carrots and sweet potatos because non-organics are grown with nitrate fertilizer and that is not good for infants. other veggies he said were fine to buy fromthe regular grocery store. for the most part organic doesn't mean it's any more nutritious, they just don't have pesticides. but a nutrition teacher i had in college said that for all people worry about pesticides, the amount on a single piece of fruit is so tiny that it really doesn't matter. washing veggies is important more for the fact of how many people may have touched it at the grocery store before you bought it! talk to your doctor if you want more specifics, they're usually pretty unbiased, sicne they are more concerned with your child health than anything else. good luck.

Some one else said this too, and I have to agree: the key is variety. Some foods that are very good for you have very small amounts of things that aren't so great ... the key is having enough variety that we get the great nutrients and don't overload on the bits of not good. Our bodies can cope with and eliminate these things in small amounts - that's why we have a liver, etc!!
Also, at his age, you are training your son's palate. The more he exeperiences the more he will like as he grows up! (My kids beg for veggies at 5,7,9 years old because we gave them lots as babies) Just make sure to follow practices to prevent/rule out allergies and just introduce 1 new food a week, giving it to him for 3 days in a row.

Hi B.-I'm an organic mom--nothing you haven't heard below. I did want to throw out that you may want to consider both you and your son taking fish oil (you can start him at a year). Aim for oil from Scandinavia, which has much higher standards (the US fish oil has very few standards), particularly Norway, which is the only country to regulate PCPs in fish oil. Our family uses Nordic Naturals. When my daughter started school/daycare last year, she got sick A LOT. When she was about 6 months old, we put her on infants probiotics--like Solaray or Jarrow brand, specifically for infants. It was amazing the change in her health. We're all on them now and it's a great addition to the food! Best of luck!

watch this video about nutrition. It's less than three minutes. http://www.foodmatters.tv/trailer.html?gclid=CMTWgufm55QC...
I give my kids MonaVie every day. 4oz of MonaVie is equal to 13 daily servings of fruit and veggies. This way I know they are receiving the proper nutrition. Please contact me if you would like to chat further. K.

Making your own baby food is really easy. We bought frozen veggies and steamed them, pureed them in a blender, and froze them in ice cube trays. You can do the same with fruits. You can make them a little chunkier as your baby gets older. Soon you can just mash up or cut up the food you are eating! It is so much better than jarred/processed food and cheaper too! My son was so used to eating homemade that he wouldn't even eat a jar of food the couple of times we tried it (while travelling)!

Variety is important. Expose your child to as many different flavors and textures as you can.

Read labels. The fewer ingredients the better. Remember that there is the most of that first ingredient listed in processed foods.

There are lots of recipes out there for good, fun, healthy homemade foods kids will enjoy...including granola/granola bars, fruit leather, healthy cookies, main entrees with or without meat, fun sandwiches, finger foods... And many of them are not too difficult to make. Lots of foods freeze well also...so you could make up a big batch and store for later....rather than feeling like you are always cooking! :o)

Go organic and/or local when possible. Farmer's markets are great....as is growing your own. It is amazing how much food you can grown in your own yard...container gardening is easy too if you don't have room in your yard.

Avoid hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. Avoid corn syrup and lots of sugars. Research has also shown that artificial colors could be as bad as sugars for kids (ex: with hyperactivity, ADHD, etc). If true...a homemade cookie would be better than a fruit roll up, even though both have sugars. Seems to make sense to me!

Learn what you can, do your best, but also don't stress over it. All parents do the best they can for their kids and we are always improving. I have the "perfectionist" personality and sometimes don't like to start something unless I can do it perfectly. I have learned that doesn't work in raising children! You have to just do your best and keep trying. It probably won't be perfect, but we do what we can!

A good source of information is Dr. Cristine Wood her web site www.kidseatgreat.com. My advice is the earlier you start with good nutrition the less likley you will suffer from degenerative desease.

Usanamals Kids nutritional supplements.
Nutritionals you can trust www.jerrbiz.usana.com

I only buy my son organic food, or natural if I can't get organic in a certain item. My personal belief is that no matter how 'safe' the FDA says a food is, there is still come chemical residue left over on the food and we end up ingesting it. And all those chemicals we ingest over the course of our life just can't be good for us.

Besides, the FDA isn't nearly as concerned about our health as we think they are.

I highly suggest buying organic or natural. It is a little more expensive, but I no longer have to question whether what I'm feeding my son is harming him.

Ok, so first let me say that I'm gung ho organic, so this is just my opinion!!!!
Milk: most milk products contain growth hormones that are transfered from the cow to you and your kids- they lead to early onset of puberty in our kids- girls are getting periods and developing breasts as early as age 7 to 9 now unlike when we were kids and it was closer to age 11-13!
Meat: Same thing- beef contains hormones, a law was just passed that chickens can no longer receive growth hormones, so that's ok to eat.
Veggies: pesticides and such can cause cancer
There are ways to eat healthy without having to buy the most expensive organic brands out there.... Look for milk that states "no rsbt" given to cows, and buy "natural" things, doesn't always have to state that it's organic.

IMO It really doesn't matter. I went the baby food from the store with my first, he still drinks regular juice and junk food. His weight is finally above the 30 percentile and he's very healthy. He does have Autism but he's very high fuctioning. I have had people tell me it's because of red food dyes and immunizations. I think, it just happens.

My youngest son was fed homemade baby food and I kept him on organic juice, for a while it was all he liked. He's still under the tenth percentile. He has had more infections, mostly strep, and has more allergies. He was born with Strep B that I gave him, unknowingly, back then, they didn't give antibiotics to pregnant mom's. I took antiboitics for the strep I had but it still passed through to him. He doesn't like food much, now either (only junk)

Hi B.!

Oh my goodness does nutrition count! I feed my babies Earth's Best or homemade. If your body has to use its immune system to combat the pesticides, additives, etc., it cannot operate at its best to combat illness. Watch particularly for MSG, formaldehyde, and high fructose corn syrup (it's in bread, too.) If your budget doesn't allow for 100% organic, start a garden and/or go to www.ewg.org for a complete list of the most and least contaminated foods.

L.

P.S. watch out for sugar and particularly watch out for artificial sugars including Splenda!

You've already gotten some really great advice but I thought I'd throw in my 2 cents as well. We recently switched to all organic and things couldn't be better. Here is a few articles by Dr. Greene who now recommends that all infants and children eat organic and gives good points on why. He also has a new book out called living greene.

http://www.horizonorganic.com/raising/prescription.html

http://www.drgreene.org/body.cfm?id=21&action=detail&...

I also just read the book Skinny Bitch. It was VERY informative and explained what is really in a lot of our foods. It does have a strong vegan chapter which was great for information. We do eat meat however we only eat organic meat now and I'm telling you, the taste is GREAT! There are certain veggies you should always eat organically because of the pesticides you can't wash off but even organic bananas taste differently. Almost sweeter with a stronger banana flavor. wholefoods.com has some great dinner recipes for 4 all under $15.

Hope that helps!

Hi B. - personally I don't buy everything organic just because of the cost. I just wash everything really well. We have a farmers market in my town that I buy some things from and I have a container garden. We do buy milk from a dairy that doesnt use hormones or antibiotics.

The most important thing I felt in feeding my kids was keeping in control of their sugar consumption and not overdoing it on the processed foods. A balanced diet is really the key.

There are some pretty good packaged toddler meals by Gerber that don't have preservatives but are easy to prepare. My little one really liked the mac-n-cheese with peas and carrots. I would mix it all together and he would eat everything. I also noticed in the ingredients that they used butternut squash in the cheese sauce.

Personally, I don't buy organic, for two reasons, one we are a family of nine and my kids eat a lot of fruits and veggies (I have a veg DD) so it gets really expensive, and we don't live close to the big stores so it isn't really possible, we have a small store so on the "in between" trips they are what I have to use.

I would prefer that they just eat healthy, versus whether or not it's organic, I don't stress about it. I am also not very careful with what they eat, I don't restrict, a cookie is thrown in along with an apple, as long as they are getting the majority of the good stuff, I don't worry about the cookies or chicken nuggets. So for dinner we would have chicken nuggets, but then we would have fresh corn on the cob and some baked french fries. It's a balancing act, but I have also learned that I can't control what they eat outside of the house (the older ones) so while in the house I just keep it balanced. I reall hope I made some sence.....the kids are fighting, hope you find the answers you are looking for!

I know this is a little late on the subject but I thought I'd just put this out there. I wont be very popular either in saying... GIve yourself a break. Yes organics are better for you. Yes high fructose corn syrup is horrid for you. Yes teach them to be good eaters by limiting junk food and giving lots of fruits and veggies. But dont beat yourself up with every little thing. A lot of moms get over their heads with trying to give their kids everything. It can be so overwhelming as a first time mom. I wanted only the best for my little girl, but it was so expensive and it drove me crazy with worry about what I was or wasn't giving her. I felt guilty for every little thing. Finally I gave myself a break and realized balance is what we needed. We dont do a lot of organic anymore, (shes 5) We do get milk without hormones and I steer away from the high fructose corn syrups. But I wont beat myself up if I slip and buy the "bad" yogurt every once in awhile. She has always eaten alot of fruits and veggies ( they were not organic) and part of that is that we dont give her alot of sweets, unless its a treat. I would like to say she is incredibly healthy and smart. I think alot of that is all part of the genes too. I've had friends who would fret over every little thing and their kids where sick all the time. What I am trying to say is dont let anyone guilt you (including yourself) into being hard on yourself. Do what you think is right and if you decide not to go all natural, dont sweat it. Our kids will grow up to be just fine. Best wishes.

As an experienced mom I find that sometimes you just have to let some things go, especially when they can start choosing what they will and won't eat! I breastfed all three of my kids exclusively and believe they have benifited from that, they are all super healthy. I tell you sometimes buying all organic and eating perfectly all the time can be hard with our hectic schedules and we just have to give our selves a break! Also, organic can be really really expensive. That said, there is an article in Consumer Reports this month on what is worth buying on the organic front. And ultimately kids will emulate you, are you healthy and do you eat well? Good luck!

I think organic is great, though there are some things that buying organic is just more expense not necessarily more nutrition. I think just basic teaching a child at a very early age to eat healthy is great. There are the overboard parents that ban all treats, snacks or sweets, which will in turn cause the child to binge and really go overboard at any given opportunity. I try to balance it out. My kids know all about healthy eating, why it is important, they eat a lot of fresh veggies and fruits that are organic, IF we do red meat it is organic, but basically that is about it. We eat a lot of chicken and ground turkey which isn't organic and I am totally comfortable with that. We do the natural Hormel lunch meats with no nitrates in them.
I do not get anything with trans fat in it either. My kids LOVE raw veggies more then cooked so I am careful about which ones I buy. I exposed them to spices and lot's of flavors young so they weren't picky eaters too.
I keep their milk at 1% now as after the year mark they don't need a lot of fat, they however are 4 and 7. I have let them have candy, ice cream, cheetos,junk so to speak but it is limited and it is funny as allowing it in bits and not being forbidden has helped them balance it themselves. They are allowed juice only with breakfast, and never soda or sugary drinks after breakfast, unless it is chocolate milk. I talked to the Pediatrician and organic milk is fine, if whole but with the low fat it has a lot less hormones so I am not worried about buying organic milk any longer.
At Halloween, Easter and so forth where candy is abundant, they pace themselves and forget about the candy all together in a few days. My daughter will actually get a bag of M&Ms and eat a few, save some for the next day, eat some more and so on. So I think as long as you aren't extreme in any direction is a great thing to teach kids to eat healthy, get organics on the foods that really matter, most thin skinned fruits and veggies are good organics. Like anything just nothing in excess and it helps the kids as they grow.

i think it is great to buy whole foods at the best quality you can afford.avoiding boxed foods and foods with lots of preservatives. i really think this makes a difference. as for organic, i think the quality of the food is better for the most part(not genetically modified or engineered as so many "regular" fruits and veggies are today) i also like Sunrider foods for myself and my children. they help fill in the gaps in our nutrition and combat the not so great things that are every where in the American diet. don't obsess about it just choose a healthy lifestyle and make the healthiest choices you can in any given situation, sometimes a trip to a fast food joint is unavoidable, just make as healthy a choice as you can while you are there. this way of eating is much less stressful than being on a strict healthy food all the time diet in my opinion. kudos to you for educating yourself about healthy eating!

Just feed them what you eat. That's what you'll end up doing in the long run anyway.

I didn't read all the posts, so forgive me if you've already got this info.

The Environmental Working Group posts a list online of which fruits/veggies are important to buy organic, based on how much pesticide residue remains on it by the time you eat it. www.ewg.org

For meat/eggs, you can often get organic quality without the price tag if you just look for grassfed. Grassfed ranchers usually use organic practices (for whatever reason the two philsophies sort of go hand-in-hand) but aren't necessarily certified organic (hence the lower price).

I pureed food for my DS1 and will probably try this for DS2: www.tribalbaby.org/babyLedEating.html (also www.babyledweaning.com). It's just a little harder to find time with two little ones, so I'd rather play than be in the kitchen making purees.

I can kind of speak to the longterm benefits even though my kids are still small, as I grew up on a largely organic diet. My mom was one of the original health nuts (actually HER mom was and she followed) and raised us on homemade bread, garden-fresh veggies, etc. I definitely believe that it helped my overall heath, but it also taught me a lot about how to eat well. I didn't always follow it (soda & Doritos figured largely during the teen years) but I've never been confused as to which foods I was eating were good for me and which ones weren't. It's kind of harder to make lousy choices all the time if you KNOW they're lousy choices. KWIM?

Best of luck!

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